Cabalistic ~ when Daisy Quantock met Princess Popoffski in a vegetarian restaurant in London, the Princess wore some very curious rings, with large engraved amethysts and torquoises in them. Mrs Quantock asked if those finger ornaments had any mystical signification. They had: one was Gnostic, one was Rosicrucian, and the other was Cabalistic.
Derived from Kabbalah, the mystical interpretation of the Hebrew scripture, the term "cabal" originally meant either an occult doctrine or a secret. Often a secret society of the like-minded, a cabal is a group united in some design, usually to promote private views or interests, often by intrigue, insidious influence or even conspiracy. As such cabals are viewed more negatively as shadowy and suspicious than mere factions promoting an aim. Princess Popoffski's Cabalistic ring must have related to membership of one such underhand mystical clique, so fascinating to Daisy Quantock. See Gnosticism and Rosicrucianism.
Cadman, Harold ~ loyal chauffeur of Lucia. Married Foljambe, peerless parlourmaid of Georgie Pillson. Sometimes - confusingly - Chapman. It was Chapman, for example, who assisted Lucia in covertly practising her bicycling skills and drove her to Sheffield Castle in "Trouble for Lucia."
"Called away" ~ when he woke up early in the morning after a drunken evening at the end of which Major Flint had challenged him to a duel, Captain Puffin panicked, hastily packed a Gladstone bag and intended to make off to the station to catch the early train to Lnodon.
"He left on his sitting room table, where it would catch the eye of his housemaid, a sheet of paper on which he wrote 'Called away' (he shuddered as he traced the words.) 'Forward no letters. Will comunicate...' (Somehow the telegraphic form seemed best to suit the emergency of the situation.) Then very quietly he let himself out of his house."
Calmness of despair ~ when rehearsals for the Elizabethan Pageant in Riseholme were reaching a nadir under the incompetent direction of Daisy Quantock, Georgie was delegated to perusade her to abdicate in favour of Lucia as both Queen Elizabeth and director. "It was a gloomy queen that Georgie found, a queen of Sheba with no spirit left in her but only a calmness of despair."
Here famed horror-writer Benson is quoting from the short story "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842 in the literary annual "The Gift : A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843" : "I saw that some ten or twelve vibrations would bring the steel in actual contact with my robe, and with this observation there suddenly came over my spirit all the keen, collected calmness of despair." See "There comes a tide in the affairs of men" and Queen of Sheba
Calomel ~ when Georgie Pillson was waiting to be joined by Lucia in her drawing-room, he dipped into a fat volume entitled "Health in the Home." He read about shingles and "was reassured that the slight cough which had troubled him lately was probably not incipient tuberculosis: he made a note of calomel, for he felt pretty sure the (sic) Foljambe's moroseness was due to liver, and she might be induced to take a dose."
Mercurous chloride or mercury(l) chloride or calomel (Hg2Cl2) is a very heavy soft, white, odourless and tasteless halide material formed by altering other mercury minerals such as cinnabar or amalgams. Once a popular cathartic, calomel was used medicinally since the sixteenth century as a purgative, disinfectant, to treat yellow fever and, charmingly, syphilis. It was also used as a fungicide, particulalry in horticulture to prevent clubroot amongst Brassicacaeae. The name is thought to derive from the Greek for "black." It is understood that Georgie's peerless parlourmaid, Foljambe did not suffer from clubroot or any of the ailments listed above.
Cannick, Mr. ~ the grocer in Tilling.
Caporelli, Antonio ~ artist of the Venetian school, whose biography was kept on prominent display at "The Hurst" by Lucia to impress her visitors. It is uncertain whether Lucia ever started let alone finished the volume, but much enjoyed informing Georgie that in consequence she could smell the salt tide creeping up over the lagoon and see the campanile of dear Torcello.
The excuse given by Mrs Weston to return to Lucia's garden party at "The Hurst" (when her actual reason was to hear Olga Bracely sing in the smoking parlour) was that Lucia had promised to lend her the book by Antonio Caporelli (or was it Caporetto?). Mrs Weston later remarked at her dinner party for Colonel Boucher, Georgie and Olga that it was a book all about Venice and I'm sure most interesting, but I haven't had time to glance at it yet.
Confusingly, although Lucia speaks initially of the life of Caporelli, she is later referred to as putting down an Italian grammar, when Georgie entered her drawing room and covering it up with the essays of Antonio Caporelli. Thus our confusion as to whether the book is about or by the elusive Signor Caporelli is increased, as is our uncertainty as to his trade or profession - painter, essayist or perhaps both - or even neither?
My research has not yet disclosed any further conclusive details of the work of the no doubt estimable Signor Caporelli, of whose biography it appears Lucia was so fond. The nature of his career and even the identity of his vocation itself is still clouded.
Lucia's reference to the rise of the Venetian School does not assist conclusively, since there is more than one Venetian School, although the choice does seem to be narrowed down to fine art and music. Mr Caporelli might even be an invention of the fertile brain of the cultured and mischievous author.
In his splendid "Life of E. F.Benson," Brian Masters suggests that Lucia is based almost entirely on Fred's contemporary and sometime friend, the best-selling novelist Marie Corelli, about whom he maintained a scrap book of press cuttings. As well as professing to speak Italian, spouting baby-talk, playing the piano "with pitiless sincerity" and "kidnapping Shakespeare for her own," Marie Corelli claimed to be descended from the (childless) Venetian musician Arcangelo Corelli. Her real name was charmingly "Minnie Mackay". One is tempted to wonder if the references to Signor Caporelli in "Queen Lucia" might amount to a further satirical barb aimed at Fred's sometime friend? See Venetian School
Capri ~ see Faraglione.
Captain Puffin ~ a plain-speaking bachelor, retired naval officer, small in stature and considered to have a fluty disagreeable laugh. A neighbour of Major Benjamin Flint in Tilling and his frequent partner for golf on the nearby links at the end of the tram line. A drinking companion of Major Flint who, when merry, even called him "Puffie"and boasted that his friend "Revolutionized the theory of navigation."
Rounds of golf for a small wager were often punctuated with disagreement regarding the game or any number of topics including contact between the ball and objects as various a worm casts and sheep droppings.
Like Major Flint, Puffin enjoyed a drink which sometimes heightened the argument and on one occasion led to a threat of a duel. Actual conflict was only avoided when both potential duellers took flight in terror to catch the early train to London only to meet at the station and settle their differences. It only subsequently emerged that cowardice had prevailed whilst in the meantime the reputation of both potential protagonists in a dispute regarding a fair lady improved no end.
Reinforced by drink, on one occasion Puffin even dared stand up to the formidable Elizabeth Mapp in the street - late on a dark foggy night. He overcame Miss Mapp's threats to publicise his drunkenness by threatening to claim that she herself was drunk -as evidenced by her feigning to post an unstamped blank envelope in the middle of the night. Eventually, when Miss Mapp had worked out and circulated news of the joint cowardice of the duellists, Puffin humiliatingly apologised to Miss Mapp and was permitted to rejoin Tilling society and enjoy his golf with Major Flint.
For some time Puffin shared somewhat garrulous evenings with Major Flint over glasses of whisky alternating between their respective cottages whilst supposedly at work on his study of Roman roads.
After bouts of depression and dizziness, sadly Puffin departed this life at home on Christmas Day. He was feared to have suffered a stroke and fell forward with his face in his soup plate. He drowned face-forward in a bowl of oxtail soup - an almost fitting end for a former sailor.
Someone of a harsh disposition might even argue that Elizabeth Mapp enjoyed the ultimate revenge for Captain Puffin's tipsy slight on that foggy night in the street in Tilling. Worrying about his friend Puffin's declining health and state of mind, Major Benjy had wanted to spend the evening with him. Miss Mapp strongly responded: You must have no jolly evening, Major Benjy. So bad for him. A little soup and a good night's rest. That's the best thing.
Had Major Benjy spent the evening with his friend it is questionable whether the drowning would have taken place. By her intervention, Miss Mapp had brought about the passing of her enemy: I dare say there may have been much that was good in Captain Puffin, that we knew nothing about. She also removed Major Benjy's best friend and would be able to spend much more time with him herself: Major Benjy will feel very lonely.
No charge was ever brought.
Cardinal Newman ~ John Henry Newman (1801-1890), eminent churchman allegedly materialized by Daisy Quantock's psychic medium Princess Popoffski. Not visible to the eye but audible to the ear, the late sainted Cardinal joined in the singing of Lead Kindly Light (composed by Newman), which the secretary requested the attendees to sing, and blessed them at the conclusion.
Originally an evangelical Anglican clergyman and academic, Newman was prominent in the High Church Oxford Movement which wished to return the Church of England to certain Catholic tenets and modes of worship. Converted to Catholicism in 1845. His major writings included "Apologia Pro Vita Sua" and "The Dream of Gerontius".
Topically, Newman was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI - a step along the path toward canonisation - during Mass in Cofton Park in Birmingham on 19 September 2010 during his State Visit to Britain.
Carlisle Holbein, the ~ when he had been persuaded by Lucia to retain his beard, grown during a painful attack of shingles, Georgie went to his barber in Hastings for a discrete trim and for it to be dyed to the required shade of auburn "as a temporary measure until it resumed its usual colour."
On his way back in the car, he checked his appearance in a hand-glass "for he felt as if a total stranger with a seventeenth century face was sharing the car with him, and his agitated consciousness suggested that anyone looking at him at all closely would conclude that this lately discovered Vandyk (like the Carlisle Holbein) was a very doubtful piece."
The meaning of the "Carlisle Holbein" is not entirely clear. It might refer to the highly controversial gift to the National Gallery in 1909 by an anonymous woman of Hans Holbein's portrait of Christina of Denmark.
Although the donation was rumoured to have been made by an American millionairess, Consuelo Vanderbilt, lately the Duchess of Marlborough, it transpired that it was made by Rosalind Frances Stanley, the staunch liberal and feminist, who in 1889 had became Countess of Carlisle and chatelaine of Castle Howard.
In 1911, Lady Rosalind Carlisle made a further donation to the National Gallery by selling the Adoration of the Kings by Jan Goessart or Mabuse for the reduced price of £40,000. The reference to "a very doubtful piece" seems to question the merits or authenticity of that particular Holbein in a way not wholly appropriate to the portrait of Christina of Denmark and further clarification of this irritatingly opaque reference seems required.
Carlyle ~ when Georgie was consulting Lucia upon the reply to be given to Lady Ambermere's demand for £50 for the loss of Queen Charlotte's mittens in the fire which consumed the Riseholme Museum, Lucia turned over the leaves of her newspaper. She referred to a sale at Pemberton's Auction Rooms in Knightsbridge the previous day at which various odds and ends of trumpery had been sold, including the autograph of Crippen, riding gaiters once owned by King George IV, a mother of pearl brooch belonging to the wife of the poet Mr Robert Montgomery and a pair of razors belonging to Carlyle.
Scottish satirical writer, essayist , historian and teacher, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was an eminent and controversial commentator on issues pertaining to the scientific, moral and political changes combining to destabilise social order. With a strictly Calvinist background but having lost his Christian faith, Carlyle's insights resonated with his Victorian readership. Like Mrs Montgomery's brooch, it is unclear how his razors came to be offered for sale in Knightsbridge. See Robert Montgomery.
Car of Juggernaut ~ see Juggernaut, Car of
Caroline Mapp, Aunt ~ Aunt - by marriage - of Elizabeth Mapp, who bequeathed "Mallards" to her niece in her will. When Elizabeth Mapp-Flint was later considering Lucia's offer to exchange "Mallards" for "Grebe" plus two thousand pounds she protested to Diva Plaistow that "there are things like atmosphere that can't be represented in terms of money. All the old associations. Tante Caroline."
Although Diva said that "not having known your Tante Caroline, I can't say what her atmosphere's worth," Elizabeth responded, "A saint on earth and "Mallards" used to be a second home to me long before it was mine" (which was a lie.)
It seems fair to suggest that Tante Caroline was probably less close to her beneficiary in life than the fortunate and inventive legatee claimed.
Cassandra ~ when she had acquired "Mallards" Lucia planned her future studies of the Greek tragedians and presenting tableaux in the garden room. She contemplated doubling the parts of Cassandra and Clytemnestra.
Cassandra (meaning: she who entangles men) was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy and sister of Hector. Granted the gift of prophesy, she foresaw destruction of Troy and the deaths of herself and Agamemnon. After the fall of Troy, sheltering in the temple of Athena she was abducted and raped by Ajax the Lesser. She was then taken as a concubine by Agamemnon and was later murdered with Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. According to some sources, Cassandra and Agamemnon had twin boys Teledamus and Pelops, both of whom were also killed by Aegisthus. A hard life. See Agamemnon.
Castello Faraglione ~ palatial residence of the Cont Cecco and Contessa Amelia di Faraglione in Capri, brother -in-law and sister of Algernon Wyse of Tilling, one of the Wyses of Whitchurch.
Cat, Elizabeth Mapp's ~ see Puss-Cat.
Cat, Lucia's, La gatta Lucianese ~ Lucia owned a Persian cat whilst in Riseholme. It's name seems not to have been divulged. It did once create a false alarm that the Guru was coming on the very morning that his flight from The Hurst was discovered, but it turned out that the feline was just having a quarrel with some dead laurel leaves.
Perhaps the crumbling laurel leaves symbolised the death of the Guru's former heroic reputation. Such symbolism would hardly have been characteristic of EFB, unless meant satirically, and, on balance, it is more likely that they were just a cat's plaything. Sometimes a leaf is just a leaf.
Catherine the Great ~ prior to taking office as Mayor of Tilling, Lucia was expressing self-important doubts over the extent to which she should continue to join in everyday life, such as daily shopping in the High Street. On balance, she considered she should since "in my new position, it will be incumbent on me to know what Tilling is thinking and feeling. My finger must be on the pulse."
When Lucia referred to a biography she had recently dipped into and which had impressed her, Georgie responded, intending to be humorous, that it concerned Catherine the Great. Lucia responded, "Yes: I shall forget my own name next. She always had her finger on the pulse of her people: that I maintain was the real source of her greatness." Lucia then went on about Catherine's propensity for disguising herself to keep her finger on the said pulse and Georgie soon became bored with her and this preposterous rubbish.
When Lucia found she would no longer be invited to play bridge with her intimes in Tilling unless she did so for the usual modest stakes, she eventually backed down and thoroughly enjoyed herself with a surcharged chat on local topics - save when she mistook an unexpected request from "her" Inspector Morrison to sign a summons, for a police raid: it almost intoxicated Lucia who now for weeks had not partaken of that heady beverage, and she felt more than ever like Catherine the Great.
Under the direct auspices of the energetic and charismatic Catherine II (1729 - 1796) the Russian empire grew, improved its administration and modernized along western lines to become recognised as one of the great powers of Europe. As recorded, her private life was far more hectic than would have been deemed seemly for the Mayor of Tilling.
Cattivo ragazzo ~ when being playful, Lucia and Georgie Pillson often combined baby talk with snatches of easy Italian. Favourite phrases included"Cattivo ragazzo!" when Lucia scolded Georgie for being a "naughty boy!" for, say, failing to practice the piano.
Causton Mr ~ Lucia's solicitor in Tilling - he gave Georgie news of his entitlement under Lucia's will when Lucia was thought drowned at sea with Miss Mapp - before their miraculous safe return.
Cavaliere ~ There was always a touch between the meetings of Lucia and Georgie when either of them had been away - as when Lucia visted London from Riseholme - that very prettily concealed the depth of Georgie's supposed devotion. And when Lucia came out into the garden where her cavaliere and her husband were waiting for their tea under the pergola, Georgie jumped up very nimbly and took a few chasse-ing steps towards her, with both hands outstretched in welcome.
Georgie was perceived as Lucia's ADC, gentleman in waiting, her devoted subordinate and her cavaliere servente, her servant knight, after the Italian. There are five orders of knighthood in the Italian Republic, the first of which is Knight or Cavaliere followed by Officer/Ufficiale, Commander/Commendatore, Grand Officer, Knight Grand Cross and Knight Grand Cross with cordon.
Cecco (Francesco) di Faraglione, Count ~ Italian count resident in Capri. Husband of Amelia and brother in law of Algernon Wyse. The name of the Count's charming mistress is not disclosed.
Cecilia, Saint ~ see Parry and Infelicities.
Cedars of Lebanon ~ during Lucia's house-warming lunch to celebrate her acquisition of "Mallards House," Elizabeth Mapp-Flint was irritated by the paeans of praise heaped upon the improvements to her former home. With Diva Plaistow she "lightly descended the steps into the greenhouse and felt herself bound to say as few words about Lucia's renovations in general, and the peach trees in particular, remarking,' Poor things, they'll come to nothing. I could have told dear hostess that, if she asked me. You might as well plant cedars of Lebanon.'"
Important to various ancient civilisations, the Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) grows in several Mediterranean regions including Lebanon, Israel, Northwest Jordan, Western Syria and south central Turkey. An aromatic and resistant type of wood, it was used architecturally and for shipbuilding. Its resin was used in mumification and its bark for medicinal purposes. The cedar of Lebanon is not recorded as indigenous to Tilling or any part of Sussex and seems by no means certain to have flourished in the greenhouse at "Mallards House."
Chaldean astronomer ~ whilst in London, Georgie Pillson was updating Lucia on events in Riseholme in her absence. He explained that Daisy Quantock had been having some most remarkable experiences. "She got a ouija board and a planchette - we use the planchette most - and very soon it was quite clear that messages were coming through from a guide."
Lucia laughed with a shrill metallic note of rather hostile timbre saying, "Dear Daisy. If only she would take commonsense as her guide. I suppose the guide is a Chaldean astrologer or King Nebuchadnezzar."
A marshy Mesopotamian land in what is now southern Iraq, Chaldea was settled by tribes which became known as Chaldeans or Chaldees from the 8th.century BC. The mysterious Chaldeans were famed as astrologers, magicians and sages. Two noted figures were Belshazzar and Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned in the 7th century BC. Keen observers and mathematicians, the Chaldeans recognized that events in the heavens followed a pattern with stars in a fixed order and planets moving in eccentric orbits and coherent cycles. In Chaldea, during the reign of King Assurbanipal, the charting of the patterns of the planets began and the first tables of planetary motion or ephemeridae were constructed.Sarcastic though her remark was intended to be, a Chaldean astrologer might well have made a useful spirit guide, but as it was, Daisy was well satisfied with her Egyptian, Abfou. See Abfou, Daisy Quantock and King Nebuchadnezzar.
Chamber, Star ~ see Star Chamber
The Chantrey Bequest ~ Delighted at the attention heaped upon her after the painting satirising her and Major Benjy in Victorian garb had received such acclaim at the Royal Academy Exhibition, Elizabeth Mapp-Flint asked Lucia "to persuade Irene to let us have the picture for our exhibition here, when the Academy's over, unless the Chantrey Bequest buys it straight away."
The Chantrey Bequest dates back to the Will of 31 December 1840 of Sir F L Chantrey RA who wished a national collection of British art to be built up. Under the Will on the death or remarriage of his widow, his residuary personal estate would pass in trust for the President and Trustees of the Royal Academy with the income to be devoted to the encouragement of British fine art in painting and sculpture only, by the purchase of works of fine art of the highest merit.
Lady Chantrey died in 1875 and two years later funds became available for the purchase of paintings and sculptures. The capital sum was £105,000. In 1897, when the Tate Gallery was built, all the 85 works purchased to date were handed over and housed there. It became a great honour for an artist to have a picture purchased under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest: as one critic put it, "a magic pronouncement, for to be bought for the nation means more than an incidental honour; it meant that all future work that artist does will be anxiously looked for, given due regard when it appears, and that there will be meted towards even its shortcomings generous judgement."
Chapman ~ see Cadman.
Charles II ~ when Lucia was spending the weekend at the house party at Adele Brixton's country home, she was allocated, "A beautiful room .. with a bathroom on one side, and a magnificent Charles II bed draped at the back with wool-work tapestry. It was a little late for Lucia's Elizabethan taste...."
Son of Charles I, Charles II (1630-1685) was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland in 1649 but assumed the throne after the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658. He ws received in London to great acclaim on his 30th birthday on 29th. May 1660. The hedonism and liveliness of his court after a decade of Puritan Cromwellian rule caused Charles to be called the Merry Monarch.
Charlotte, Queen ~ Lady Cornelia Ambermere loaned to Riseholme Museum a pair of somewhat moth-eaten mittens, which reputedly belonged to Queen Charlotte.The gloves sadly perished in the conflagration which consumed the Museum and its contents.
Wife of King George III (1738-1820), Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818) is considered by some authorities to be directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. She was not only Queen Consort of the United Kingdom, but Electress Consort of Hanover until the "promotion" of her husband to King of Hanover in 1814, whereupon she became Queen Consort of Hanover too. George III and Charlotte had 15 children, of whom 13 survived to adulthood. A keen amateur botanist, Charlotte helped expand Kew Gardens. She was also an enthusiastic patroness of the arts, notably music. Buried at St George's Chapel Windsor, Charlotte is the second longest serving consort, at 57 years and 70 days, after the present Duke of Edinburgh. No other mention of Queen Charlotte's mittens, or any other manual apparel, appears in portraiture or official documentation, so their actual existence must, at best, be considered moot. See Queen Charlotte's mittens.
Charlotte Bronte's wedding ~ when discussing with Lucia the scale of their impending nuptials, Georgie said, "Darling (they had settled to allow themselves this verbal endearment), I think, no I'm sure, that Tilling would be terribly disappointed if you didn't allow this to be a great occasion. You must remember who you are, and what you are to Tilling."
Lucia replied "I was turning up only yesterday the account to Charlotte Bronte's wedding. Eight o' clock in the morning, and only two of her most intimate friends present. No one of the folk at Hawarth even knew she was being married that day. So terribly 'chic' somehow when one remembers her world-wide fame. I am not comparing myself to Charlotte - don't think that - but I have got a touch of her exquisite delicacy in shunning publicity. My public life, darling, must and does belong to Tilling, but not my private life."
Lucia's version of the facts was accurate. Charlotte Bronte was married Arthur Bell Nicholls on the 29th. June 1854. The wedding was of the quietest and the bride dressed in soft white with no colour about her save green leaves, looking as one who was there told Mrs Gaskell, like a snow drop. After a honeymoon in Ireland, married life lasted only 8 months and sadly Charlotte Bronte died at Howarth on 31 March 1855, at 38 years of age.
After only a little persuasion from Georgie, the example of Charlotte Bronte faded out in Lucia's mind, vanishing in a greater brightness.
Chatelaine of The Hurst/Mallards House ~ A chatelaine is a woman who owns or controls a large house (a feminine form of the French ‘chatelaine,’ wife of the lord of the castle). It was used for a set of short chains on a belt for carrying keys, thimble and/or sewing kit. Benson describes Lucia as “the chatelaine of ‘The Hurst.’”
The phrase " the Chatelaine of Mallards House" was often used in the Hampshire Argus to describe Lucia - to the intense irritation of its former occupier, Elizabeth Mapp.
Che curiose scalpe! ~ Georgie was trying to wear-in the shoes that formed part of his costume as Drake in the impending Elizabethan Pageant in Riseholme, commenting to Daisy Quantock, "I''m trying to get used to these shoes. They hurt frightfully." Shortly afterwards, calling upon Lucia, thus shod, his hostess cried, leaning out of her window, "Georgino! Che curiose scalpe!" to which he replied, "Don't be so cattiva. They are cattivo enough. But Drake did have shoes exactly like these."
Translated literally, Lucia's remark seems to say "What a strange scalp!" In truth, only Georgie's trichologist and hairdresser Mr Holroyd might have been in a position to confirm this. It appears that what Lucia intended to say - or the publishers to print - was "Che curiose scarpe!", "What strange shoes!"
The reader must decide whether Italophile Fred was making another Corelli-baiting joke about the brittle quality of Lucia's grasp of la bella lingua or, more prosaically, a simple infelicity in the transcription of Fred's longhand manuscript, involving the incorrect substitution of "r" with "l," which turned shoes into scalp. Cattiva Mrs Simpson!
Chekov ~ See Tchekov.
Chela ~ a word originating from the Indian sub-continent meaning "disciple". Thus, the guru was a teacher and Daisy (and later half of Riseholme) was his "chela". Lucia divined this by looking through some books by Rudyard Kipling.
Chequers ~ when Lucia was engaged in a spectacular bout of "networking" during her weekend as the guest of Adele Brixton, the Prime Minister arrived, and she said how lovely Chequers must be looking. She did not annex him, she just hovered and hinted, and made no direct suggestion, and sure enough, within five minutes he had asked if she knew Chequers. Of course, she did, but only as a tourist - and so one thing led to another. It would be a nice break in her long drive down to Riseholme on Tuesday to lunch at Chequers, and not more than forty miles out of her way.
A country house at the foot of the Chiltern Hills near Ellesborough to the south of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Chequers has been the country residence of the Prime Minister since it was donated to the nation by Lord and Lady Lee of Fareham by the Chequers Estate Act 1917. A stained glass window in the long gallery of the house, commissioned by the donors, is inscribed "This house of peace and ancient memories was given to England as a thank-offering for her deliverance in the great war of 1914-1918 as a place of rest and recreation for her Prime Ministers for ever."
Cherry lips ~ in high summer season, the area outside "Mallards" was thronged with artists seeking to capture the myriad quaintnesses with which it abounded. Opposite the church-and-chimney-artists would sit others, drawing the front door itself (difficult), and moistening their pencils at their cherry lips, while a little farther down the street was another battalion hard at work at the gabled front of the garden-room and its picturesque bow.
As a well read and educated man, one imagines Benson's very thoughts at any given moment were often effortlessly peppered with classical, literary and biblical references. Here in referring to "cherry lips" it appears he has, perhaps even unconsciously, quoted from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act 5, Scene 1, where, in the play put on by the rude mechanicals, the wall that separates the houses of their families has a chink in it and the young lovers can talk in secrecy; Thisbe says to Pyramus:
"O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss'd thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee."
See Pyramus and Thisbe.
Chesterfield terms ~ invitations to breakfast (his term for luncheon) or dinner from Algernon Wyse were couched in politely expressed Chesterfield terms: Mr Wyse said he had met a mutual friend just now who informed him that you were in residence and encouraged him to hope that you might give him the pleasure of your company etc.
In Tilling this was considered an alluring diction, since it presented the image of Mr Wyse stepping briskly home again, quite heartened by this chance encounter and no longer the prey to melancholy at the thought that you might not give him the joy. In consequence his offers of hospitality were seldom, if ever, declined.
Chesterfield terms originated from Whig statesman and man of letter Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield (1694 – 1773) whose Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman was mainly written between 1746 and 1754. Covering geography, history, literature and politics the Letters are brilliantly written, full of elegant wisdom, keen wit, exquisite observation and deduction and have come to epitomise the restraint of polite 18th-century society. They obviously struck a particular chord with the fastidious Algernon Wyse.
"Children dear, was it yesterday?" ~ from her bow window Elizabeth Mapp had noted Mrs Poppit waddling down the street and disappearing around the corner on her way to the dentist or Mr Wyse's house. With a sense of fatigue Miss Mapp recalled the fact that she had seen the housemaid cleaning Mr Wyse's windows yesterday - (Children dear, was it yesterday?) - and had noted her industry and drawn from it the irresistible conclusion that Mr Wyse was probably expected home.
Benson's playful - if not downright, coy - insertion in parenthesis is a quotation from "The Forsaken Merman" (as in, the masculine of mermaid, rather than Broadway diva) by poet, cultural critic and Inspector of Schools, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), the son of Thomas Arnold, famous head of Rugby School:
"COME, dear children, let us away;
Down and away below.
Now my brothers call from the bay;
Now the great winds shoreward blow;
Now the salt tides seaward flow;
Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.
Children dear, let us away.
This way, this way!
Children dear, was it yesterday
We heard the sweet bells over the bay? "
Chintz roses ~ thrifty and inventive Diva Plaistow had the idea of trimming the broad collar and cuffs of a jacket, skirt and belt with bunches of pink roses cut from old curtains. Before she could complete her work, Miss Mapp literally got wind if the idea when a couple of roses fluttered out of Diva's window into her hands and archly decided to pre-empt her. She did so by trimming her own corn coloured skirt with bright red poppies and appearing about Tilling to display her handiwork. Enraged, Miss Plaistow topped her rival by dressing her parlour maid Janet in her outfit trimmed with roses making it impossible for Miss Mapp to continue to model her new garment. After an interval the protagonists cooled down and withdrew both newly trimmed garments for their own personal wear and thus an Armistice was reached in the Wars of the Chintz Roses. See Wars of the Roses
Chippendale ~ humorous touches abounded in the decor of "The Hurst," the home of Philip and Emmeline (Peppino/Pepino and Lucia) Lucas in Riseholme. They were altered from time to time and so the fearfully authentic furry Japanese spider in a silk web might be taken down and replaced by a china canary (perhaps fashioned in Copenhagen china like Lucia's faux doves in her dovecote) in a Chippendale cage. In Riseholme, Georgie Pillson owned a Chippendale sofa. There were reputed to be some fine Chinese Chippendale chairs in the dining room of the house of Pepino's late Aunt Amy at 25 Brompton Square. Lucia noted the large wardrobe in her guest bedroom at Adele Brixton's country house in Essex was Chippendale.
Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) was a London cabinet maker and furniture designer in the mid-Georgian roccoco and subsequent neo-classical style. He published the hugely influential "The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director" in 1754, which was revised and enlarged in 1762. His designs grew popular again during the second half of the nineteenth century, which saw a significant revivial of the style to which his name was attached, with varying degrees of authenticity.
Chocolate cakes ~ With an eye to economy, if not hospitality, Miss Mapp made a point of purchasing certain delicacies for her bridge parties, more particularly little chocolate cakes. She had lately discovered that, although they looked very small and innocent, they were in reality of so cloying and substantial a nature, that the partaker therof would probably not feel capable of making any serious inroads into her other provisions. Although these substantial chocolate cakes did their fell work in producing a sense of surfeit, obliging Elizabeth's guests to drop off gorged from the tea table, Diva Plaistow fortunately remembered their consistency in time, and nearly cleared a plate of jumbles instead, which the hostess had hoped would form a pleasant accompaniment to her dessert at supper that evening.
Chopin, Frederic ~ After a morning in the viewing gallery at the Divorce Court enjoying the notorious Shyton divorce case, Lucia returned to 25 Brompton Square to entertain Adele Brixton to lunch. Lucia chatted animatedly about the case and sided wholly with Babs Shyton and Lord Middlesex, affectionately known as "Woof-dog". Lucia suggested that it was "a pure and beautiful affection between Babs and Woof-dog, such as any woman, even if she was happily married might be proud to enjoy. There can be no doubt of Lord Middlesex's devotion to her, and really - I hope this does not shock you- what their relations were concerns nobody but them. George Sands and Chopin, you know. Nelson and Lady Hamilton."
Romantic Polish composer and virtuoso pianist Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) wrote many innovative and technically demanding works for solo piano, two piano concertos, chamber pieces and various songs. Between 1837 and 1847 he was famously involved in a relationship with George Sand. After a lifetime of ill health he died penniless in Paris at the age of only 39. See Babs Shyton, Lord Middlesex, George Sands, Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton.
Chota-peg ~ is a miniature jug used for individual servings of alcohol, dating from British colonial India at the end of the 19thC. "Chota" is the Hindi word for "small measure."Major Benjy had many a chota peg of pre-war whisky in the mess in Poona after playing polo and later in life.
Christian Science ~ an enthusiasm of Daisy Quantock superseded by many others including yoga and spiritualism. Although it prompted in her the determination to deny the existence of pain, disease and death as regards herself, Mrs Quantock was always full of the gloomiest views as regards her many friends in Riseholme.
The system of thought and practice known as Christian Science, practised by the members of the First Church of Christ Scientist was derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and the Bible. The Christian Science textbook of 1875, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy describes the teachings and healings of Jesus as a complete and coherent science, which is both demonstrable and provable through healing. Christian Scientists assert that man and the universe as a whole are spiritual rather than material in nature and that truth and good are real, whereas evil and error are illusory aspects of material existence. Also, through prayer, knowing and understanding, all things are possible for good through God.
Christmas cards ~ see Xmas cards
Christmas festivities ~ see Xmas festivities.
Chromagens ~ when Daisy Quantock was enthusiastically following the tenets of "The Uric Acid Monthly," she came to the shattering conclusion that her buxom frame consisted almost entirely of waste products which must be eliminated. For a greedy man (such as Robert Quantock) the situation was frankly intolerable, for when he continued his ordinary diet (this was before the cursed advent of the Christian Science cook) she kept pointing to his well-furnished plate and told him that every atom of that beef or mutton and potatoes turned from the moment he swallowed it into chromagens and toxins, and that his apparent appetite was merely the result of fermentation..
A chromagen is defined as any compound, such as heme, that forms a biological pigment when attached to a protein. See Toxins.
Church Road ~ residential road in Riseholme, adjacent to The Green on which were located the homes of Georgie Pillson, Mrs Jane Weston and "Old Place," latterly the residence of Olga Bracely.
"Churching of Women, The" ~ Elizabeth Mapp-Flint contrived to enjoy many benefits from her feigned pregnancy. At social gatherings in Tilling care was taken that she had a comfortable chair, was not sitting in draughts and basked in warm congratulations if she won her rubbers and in sympathy if she lost. She was helped first and largely at dinner, Susan Wyse constantly lent her the Royce for drives in the country, so that she could get plenty of fresh air without fatigue, and Evie Bartlett put a fat cushion in her place behind the choir at church. Already she had enjoyed precedence as a bride, but this new precedence quite outshone so conventional a piece of etiquette. The Contessa di Faraglione sent a message to Elizabeth of so delicate a nature regarding her own first confinement, that Mr Wyse had been entirely unable to deliver it himself and entrusted it to his wife. The Contessa also sent to Elizabeth a large jar of Italian honey, notable for its nutritious qualities.
As for the Padre, he remembered with shame that he had suggested that a certain sentence - the portion relating to children - the should be omitted from Elizabeth's marriage service, which she insisted should be read, and he made himself familiar with the form for the Churching of Women.
The Churching of Women is a ceremony wherein a blessing is given to mothers after recovery from childbirth. While not a required ritual it should be carried out as soon as the new mother is able to leave the house. Folklore has it that new mothers who had not been churched were regarded as attractive to the fairies and so in danger of being kidnapped by them, but the origin of the church ritual in unrelated to these later superstitions. One doubts that any fairy would have been well advised to even consider attempting to abduct the formidable Elizabeth Mapp-Flint, not that the opportunity was ever likely to arise.
Clara Butt ~ Lucia was practising the slow movement of the "Moonlight Sonata" in Tilling church, with Georgie on the pedals, in preparation for the recital and service of dedication of the organ. With one hand Lucia played the triplets on the swell and the solo tune with the other on the vox humana. The plaintive throaty bleating of the vox humana was enervatingly lovely, and Lucia's America cloth eyes grew veiled with moisture,"So heart broken. A lovely contralto tone. Like Clara Butt is it not? The passionate despair of it. Fresh courage coming. So noble."
Dame Clara Butt, DBE (sometimes Butt-Rumford after her marriage in 1900) (1872 - 1936) was an English contralto with a remarkably imposing voice and surprisingly agile singing technique. Formidable vocally and in stature, at 6 feet 2 inches tall, Dame Clara was a popular recording artist and concert singer, touring widely and only ever appearing twice in operatic productions - of Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" in 1892 and 1920. Elgar composed "Sea Pictures" for contralto and orchestra with her in mind and she premiered the work in 1899. Not all "serious musicians" seem to have admired her "populist approach to her art" or her booming contralto, which was mistaken by some for a man's on some recordings. Sir Thomas Beecham once said jokingly of Dame Clara that :"On a clear day you could have heard her across the English Channel" (perhaps particularly from Rye or Tilling?)
Clear white soul ~ when Daisy Quantock introduced Georgie Pillson to the Indian Guru, the Guru replied, "Beloved lady, I know him very well indeed. I see into his clear white soul. Peace be unto you, my friend." This pleased Georgie very much. The designation may have been devalued somewhat when soon afterwards, the Guru also opined that Robert Quantock had "a pure white soul" and that Daisy to had "white soul." It appears that the term raised no issues of political correctness in the 1930's. See Guru and Yoga.
Clematis Montana ~ to produce an aged effect on the replica of Major Benjy's riding whip which she had secretly commissioned to be made, the original of which had been chewed to pieces by Diva Plaistow's dog Paddy, Lucia came up with a singular disposition. After she had retired for the night, she tied it safely up among the foliage of the Clematis Montana which grew thickly up to the sill of her bedroom window. The silver top soon grew tarnished in this exposure, spiders spun threads about it, moisture dulled its varnished shaft and it became a weathered object.
Featuring white flowers in late spring to early summer, Clematis Montana is a hardy, vigorous climber suited to pergolas and walls such as that of "Mallards House." It requires little pruning other than deadheading after flowering. Likely to flourish on the light, well-drained and chalky soil of Tilling.
Clock golf ~ Daisy Quantock's interest in the game of golf in Riseholme first manifested itself in an enthusiasm for clock golf, which became all the rage and was taken up by Lucia upon her return from London.
Clock golf is a circular game of putting played upon a lawn. Players putt to a hole in the centre of a circle from succesive points on the circumference, the winner taking least putts.
Clumps ~ at her first informal "romp" at her new home in Riseholme, "Old Place", Olga Bracely suggested, "Now lets play clumps. Does everyone know clumps? If they don't, they will find out."
Clumps is a parlour game of question and answer. At her romp, Olga arranged one game of clumps before supper, "Let's see. There are enough for four clumps. Please make four clumps everybody, and - will you and two more go out with Mr Georgie, Mrs Lucas? We will be as quick as we can and we won't think of anything that will make Mr Georgie blush. Oh, there he is! He heard!"
Mrs Quantock was the first to guess Beethoven's little toe on this right foot, which made Lucia wince. See Cock-fighting
Clytemnestra ~ when planning tableaux based on classical Greece to be staged at "Mallards,"Lucia ambitiously considered doubling the parts of Cassandra and Clytemnestra.
Daughter of Tyndarus and Leda, Clytemnestra (meaning "famed for her suitors") was the legendary wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae or Argos. She was the mother of Iphigenia, Orestes, Chrysothemis and Electra. Whilst her husband was away in Troy she began an affair with Aegisthus. In the "Oresteia" by Aescyllus, she subsequently murdered Agememenon and the Trojan princess Cassandra, though she has a "better press" in Homer's Odyssey. See Agamemnon and Cassandra
Cobblers at home, the ~ rather a feature amongst the ladies of Riseholme; it took place when a social evening was drawing to a close, before guests left to return home. Ladies would assemble in the cloakroom to remove their smart indoor evening foot-wear, such as satin pumps, which had been carried there in a neat paper parcels and replace them with stout waterproof walking-boots, better able to withstand any inclemency when re-crossing the Green.
Cock-fighting ~ at Olga Bracely's informal romp at "Old Place", nobody noticed when Saturday ended and Sunday began, for Georgie and Colonel Boucher were cock-fighting on the floor, Georgie screaming out 'How tarsome!' when he was upset and Colonel Boucher, very red in the face saying 'Haw hum! Never thought I should romp again like this . By Jove, most amusing!'
The game in question did not involve real fowl. It was a boisterous contest between Georgie and the Colonel. Each would squat on the floor, with arms folded, and try to knock the other over by force, without the use of their hands: a surprisingly tiring and energetic pursuit for those past the first flush of youth. See Clumps.
Cod ~ The most remarkable adventure of Lucia's life befell her when the great flood burst the river bank just across the road from "Grebe" and she and poor panic-stricken Elizabeth Mapp had been carried out to sea on a kitchen table. They had been picked up by a trawler in the Channel and had spent three weird but interesting months with a fleet of cod- fishers on the Gallagher Bank. Lucia's undefeated vitality had pulled them through, but since then she had never tasted cod...
Belonging to the family Gadidiae, cod is the common name for the genus Gadus. With a mild flavour, low fat content and dense flaky white flesh, cod is, with haddock and plaice, a common ingredient of fish and chips. Feeding on molluscs, crabs, starfish, worms and smaller fish, the Atlantic cod has two distinct colours -grey-green and reddish brown with an average weight of between 11 and 26 lbs, though much larger specimens are known.
Coles, Irene, Quaint ~ see Quaint Irene Coles
Collectedness ~ Daisy Quantock advised Georgie Pillson that "collectedness" seemed to be a sort of mixture of intense concentration and complete vacuity of mind. Georgie soon appreciated that to get the best out of the planchette and to obtain communication from Abfou, "You seem to have to concentrate your mind upon nothing at all".
Colloquies ~ Lucia was pondering what would transpire should she annex and "run" Daisy Quantock's Guru as her August stunt. She imagined the classes at "The Hurst" followed by delicious moonlit suppers in the pergola or dim seances and sandwiches in the smoking parlour. The humorous furniture should be put in cupboards, and as they drifted towards the front hall again, when the clocks struck an unexpectedly late hour, little whispered colloquies of 'How wonderful he was tonight,' would be heard, and there would be far-away looks and sighs and the noting down of the titles of books that conducted the pilgrim on the Way.
A colloquy from the Latin colloquium: con[together] and loqui [speak], means a discussion or conversation. The term can relate to formal or literary dialogues, but in this case seems to be an informal conference on spiritual matters. See the Way.
Colonel Boucher, Jacob ~ see Jacob Boucher, Colonel.
Colonel Cresswell ~ Adele Brixton's brother, tenant and subsequent purchaser of Georgie Pillson's house fronting the Green in Riseholme on his relocation to Tilling.
Colonel Shyton ~ see Shyton, Colonel.
"Come, live with me" ~ towards the end of Olga Bracely's dinner party at her newly acquired, "Old Place" at which she had cannily shepherded her neighbours Jane Weston and Jacob Boucher towards matrimony, Olga said she would sing, unless anybody minded, and called upon Georgie to accompany her. She stood just behind him, leaning over him sometimes with her hand on his shoulder, and sang those ruthless simple English songs appropriate to the matter in hand. She sang "I attempt from love's sickness to fly," Sally in our Alley" and "Come live with me."
The poem "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love" by the English dramatist, spy and poet, Christopher Marlowe (1564 - 1593) begins:
"Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
and all the craggy mountains yield."
The works of distinguished composer of the Romantic School, Sir William Sterndale Bennett (1816 - 1875) total some 80 published compositions, including the overture, The Naiades Op15, the Chamber Trio Op 26 and Piano Concerto No.4 Op 19. His songs include Six Songs: first set Op23, Six Songs: second set, Op35, Maiden Mine Op.47 and Part song: Come live with me. See "I attempt from love's sickness to fly," and Sally in our Alley."
"Come thou north wind, and blow thou south" ~ Lucia seated herself in the garden of "The Hurst" in Riseholme, by the sundial, all in black, on a stone bench on which was carved the motto, " Come thou north wind, and blow thou south, that my garden spices may flow forth."
The lines orignal lines in Chapter 4, Verse 16, Song of Solomon: Song of songs are:
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
Commination service ~ after her "Mallards House"-warming lunch, Lucia listened to several of her guests discussing the sequence of events in Elizabeth Mapp-Flint's very phantom pregnancy. Lucia brought the unanimous, scathing critique to a close by suggesting that Aristophanes had summed up the phenomenon with typical Attic wit, with the delicious and untranslatable phrase that it was only a wind-egg.
Rather awed by her superhuman magnanimity, the conductors of the Commination service dispersed without further comment.
The 1662 Book of Common Prayer directs that on Ash Wednesday, the Commination service shall be held, marking the beginning of Lent. In the Church of England, commination is a recital of prayers, including a list of god's judgements against sinners, in the office.
Not strictly speaking an ancient service, the preface in the Prayer book explains that in the Primitive Church there was a godly discipline that at the beginning of Lent such persons as were convicted of notorious sin were put to open penance and punished in this world that their souls might be saved in the day of the Lord and that others admonished by their example might be more afraid to offend. But instead of this potentially humiliating rite, in the Commination the congregation mercifully makes a more general self-accusation.
Thus, in his typically referential and economic way, Benson suggests that Elizabeth had been well and truly found out in her feigned pregnancy with all the attention and favours she falsely obtained from it. Not only had her sins been fully discussed by the whole of her circle, she had suffered the ultimate ignominy of the very public, unconditional magnanimity of Lucia for her manifest transgressions. See wind-egg.
Conclave of Cardinals ~ for the week after the dinner party at "Mallards House," tension as to the new Mayoress increased to a point almost unbearable, for Lucia, like the Pythian Oracle in unfavourable circumstances, remained dumb as to the person to be appointed, waiting for Elizabeth Mapp-Flint to implore her. As at an inconclusive sitting of the Conclave of Cardinals for the election of he Pontiff, no announcement came from the precinct. Every evening, since the weather was growing chilly, a column of dark smoke curled out of the chimney of the garden room - and Elizabeth, Evie, Diva and Susan longed for the slightest hint of white smoke to bring their anxiety to an end.
When there is a vacancy in the office, the College of Cardinals is convened as a Papal Conclave to elect by a two-thirds majority a Bishop of Rome, who becomes Pope, the successor to St Peter and head of the Catholic Church. The Conclave is the oldest known method of choosing a leader of an institution ongoing. See Pythian Oracle.
Confused noise within ~ Daisy Quantock reported to Georgie Pillson that she had been speaking to widowed (and still pointedly mourning) Lucia about preparations for the Elizabethan pageant in Riseholme and had, "asked her if she wouldn't make an effort to be Drake's wife. But she said it would be too great a strain."
Georgie had replied incredulously, "My dear, you didn't ask her to be Drake's wife? You might as well have asked her to be a confused noise within. What can you have been thinking of?"
Georgie was suggesting that Daisy might as well have asked the proud Lucia to be a stage direction as to lower herself play the minor role of Drake's wife. Act I, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" begins:
On a ship at sea: a tempestuous noiseof thunder and lightning heard.
He'll be hang'd yet,
Though every drop of water swear against it
And gape at widest to glut him.
A confused noise within: 'Mercy on us!'-- 'We split, we split!'--'Farewell, my wife and children!'-- 'Farewell, brother!'--'We split, we split, we split!'
Connubialities ~ once Georgie had found the courage to inquire whether it had occurred to Lucia that they might be married and Lucia confirmed that it had and that she really believed it might be an excellent thing, the business-like pair made an early appointment to talk the matter over further. The half- espoused couple had all next day to let simmer in their heads the hundred arrangements and adjustments which the fulfilment of their romance would demand...About the question of connubialities, Georgie meant to be quite definite: it must be a sine qua non of matrimony, the first clause in the marriage treaty, that they should be considered absolutely illicit, and he need not waste thought over that.....
Georgie's union with Lucia had not been formidable, as they had agreed that no ardent tokens of affection were to mar their union. Marriage, in fact, with Lucia might be regarded as a vow of celibacy. Despite Georgie's high regard for Olga Bracely, his high moral principles would never suffer him to be unfaithful to his wife. He said to himself,"I am not that sort of man."
The term "connubialities" is defined to encompass matters pertaining to marriage. On this, as so many other issues, the frequently overtly affectionate Mapp-Flints appeared to differ from the more restrained and demurely Platonic Pillsons. Upon the return from honeymoon of Elizabeth and Benjy, Lucia advised Georgie that "They dab at each other about equally" and Georgie replied, ""How disgusting!"
At about that time, Lucia remarked to Diva Plaistow,"I think it's a perfect marriage. Perfect! I wonder-"
In reply, Diva chipped in, "I know what you mean. They sleep in that big room overlooking the street. Withers told my cook. Dressing room for Major Benjy next door; that slip of a room. I've seen him shaving in the window myself."
Lucia walked quickly on after Diva turned into her house in the High Street. Diva was a little coarse sometimes, but in fairness Lucia had to allow that when she said 'I wonder', Diva had interpreted what she wondered with absolute accuracy......
Consequences ~ Lucia and Georgie Pillson were enjoying being scathing at the temerity of Daisy Quantock in offering Lucia the role of Drake's wife in the forthcoming Riseholme Pageant. Georgie felt it was the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard and Lucia, not more ludicrous than her being Queen Elizabeth adding," Daisy on a palfrey addressing her troops! Georgie dear, think of it ! It sounds like that rather vulgar game called 'Consequences.'"
In similar vein to the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse and Mad Libs, Consequences is a parlour game traditionally played by writing words on a piece of paper, folding it to hide the previous words and passing it on to the next player. Nine or so questions are usually in the following order: 1. Adjective for man, 2. Man's name 3. Adjective for woman 4. Woman's name 5. Where they met 6. He said to her 7. She said to him 8. The consequence was, and 9. What the world said. In theory, if all has gone well, the resultant sentence is then read out to a positive tumult of merriment, jollity and hilarity and everyone is simply thrilled. See palfrey.
Contadina's umbrella ~ on returning to Riseholme from London, Emmeline Lucas took a turn in the garden at "The Hurst" before luncheon. She had laid aside her London hat, and carried a red cotton Contadina's umbrella which threw a rosy glow on the oval of her thin face with its colourless complexion.
A Contadina is a female Italian peasant or perhaps, more lyrically, "a woman of the fields." With her taste for la bella lingua, as well as many other things Italianate, it is apt that Lucia's taste in umbrellas extended to the country which gave rise to the term, viz ombrella, in Italian the diminutive of ombra, shade.
Coo-ee ~ an Australian ejaculation, learned on his voyages, favoured by Captain Puffin
Co-option ~ although Lucia had come joint bottom of the poll with Elizabeth Mapp when she stood for election to the Town Council in Tilling, such were her subsequent manifold good works and charitable donations for the benefit of the community that when a member resigned owing to ill-health, Lucia was co-opted to the Council to fill the vacancy. Naturally this development was to the utter chagrin of Elizabeth Mapp-Flint.
Copenhagen china ~ The very Elizabethan garden of "The Hurst", the very Elizabethan home of Peppino/Pepino and Lucia Lucas in Riseholme, boasted a dovecote "of course". Since the cats always killed the doves, Lucia had put up round the desecrated home several pigeons of Copenhagen china, which were both immortal as regards cats and also carried on the suggestion of humour in furniture (which had attained the highest point of felicity when Pepino concealed a mechanical nightingale in a bush which sang "Jug-jug" in the most realisitic manner when you pulled a string.)
Georgie had not yet seen the Copenhagen pigeons and, being rather short-sighted, thought they were real. Then, Pepino pulled the string and for quite a long time Georgie listened entranced to their melodious cooings.
The Royal Copenhagen or Royal Porcelain Factory was founded in Copenhagen on 1 May 1775 by pharmacist Frantz Heinrich Muller (1738-1820), under the protection of Queen Juliane Marie. Muller was given a 50 year monopoly to create porcelain and the first pieces were dining services for the royal family. Its products featured a distinctive factory mark of three wavy lines symbolising Denmark's three straits: Oresund, the Great Belt and Little Belt. See "Humour in Furniture"
Cophetua, King ~ role played by Georgie in impromptu tableaux opposite Lucia's beggar maid, both requiring a certain suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience. The part was also essayed by Major Benjy in the tableaux presented at Lucia's hospital fete in the garden at Mallards during her initial summer letting. According to tradition, Cophetua was the governor of a Greek colony in North Africa. Although not previously known as a ladies' man. After he married her, they lived happily and were eventually buried in the same tomb.
Coplen ~ gardener of Elizabeth Mapp at Mallards who commented "Coplen is not clever". Sometimes, Coglen.
Cor anglais ~ Lucia and Georgie were in Tilling church practising the slow movement of the "Moonlight Sonata," which they were to perform at the recital during the service of dedication of the organ, rebuilt at Lucia's expense. Lucia confirmed "I am putting in a beautiful cor anglais." Picking up a pipe, she blew through it,"A lovely tone. It reminds me of the last act of "Tristan," does it not, where the shepherd boy goes on playing the cor anglais for ever and ever. "The cor anglais is a woodwind instrument, part of the oboe family whose sound is recreated in the organ. See Vox humana, Bourdon, Diapason and "Tristan und Isolde."
Cortese, Antonio Signor ~ famous Neapolitan composer and conductor. His English wife was a cousin of Poppy, Duchess of Sheffield, who lived at Sheffield Castle close to Riseholme. Once described by Lucia as like a huge hairdresser. His touch on the piano: if you can imagine a wild bull hitting the keys, you will have some idea of it. Her view of him softened as his renown increased.
Wrote Lucretia specially for prima donna, Olga Bracely and subsequently Diane de Poictiers.
Cortese, Dorothea, Signora ~ English wife of Italian composer Cortese, who spoke not a word of Italian. A weekend guest at the home of Olga Bracely in Riseholme coinciding, in part, with Georgie's stay, but arriving after the departure of Lucia. A cousin of Poppy, Duchess of Sheffield.
Cortez ~ when Georgie Pillson called upon the Quantocks in Riseholme wearing his voluminous new Oxford trousers, "Robert certainly saw his trousers, for his eyes seemed unable to quit the spreading folds that lay around Georgie's ankles: he looked at them as if he was Cortez and they some new planet."
Leader of the expedition that subjugated the Aztec Empire and brought much of Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile, Hernain Cortez de Monroy y Pizarro (1485- 1547) was the Spanish Conquistador who played a major early role in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. His conquests did however not extend to the planetary.
Cortot ~ famous classical pianist and renowned interpreter of Beethoven. On one memorable occasion, Lucia publicly criticised a rendition of the Moonlight Sonata on the listening-in (or wireless) at Olga Bracely's Old Place by contrasting it unfavourably with Cortot's interpretation, when it was Cortot playing all along.
Benson's Cortot appears to be one and the same as Alfred Denis Cortot (1877-1962) a Swiss-French pianist and conductor famed performer of Romantic piano works especially Chopin, Beethoven and Schumann
See Moonlight Sonata.
Coruscations ~ Just as Miss Mapp had objected to Lucia's agreement to host the fete in aid of Tilling hospital in the garden, during her summer lease of "Mallards," Diva Plaistow was unhappy at the prospect of Miss Mapp's jumble sale in her home, "Wasters." She argued, "It's not the same thing. Providing beautiful tableaux in your garden is quite different from using my panelled hall to sell kettles and coal-scuttles with holes in them."
Miss Mapp replied that she "could find a good many holes in the tableaux." Diva could think of no adequate verbal retort to such coruscations, so for answer she merely picked up the tongs, the coal- scuttle, the candlestick and the inkstand, and put them back in the cupboard from which she had just taken them and left her tenant to sparkle by herself.
To coruscate is to sparkle, glitter or give forth flashes of light and, by extension, to exhibit sparkling virtuosity - or perhaps wit.
Cosmic Consciousness ~ the Cosmic Consciousness of Tilling is mentioned surprisingly often. It appears to comprise a communal understanding arising from inductive reasoning or simple intuition.
It involved primarily the ladies of the town. Sometimes it strayed over to the gentlemen and just occurred, unbidden - as when on the morning of his aborted duel, from somewhere in the Cosmic Consciousness there came to Major Flint the thought that the first train to London started at half-past six in the morning.
On other occasions, the Cosmic Consciousness of Tilling applied reason to determine what might have happened as between the potential duellists amidst the sand dunes, whilst at a less analytical and cerebral extreme Evie Bartlett ran about like a mouse from group to group picking up crumbs of Cosmic Consciousness. See Epistle to the Hebrews.
Cosy Corner ~ see Little Slam.
"Could not choose but hear..." ~ Georgie was entertaining Lucia to luncheon at "Mallards Cottage" at which pheasant was served. His guest was rather haranguing him on her proposed candidacy in the impending Council elections and the need to raise the Rates to fund increased expenditure. "Her voice had now assumed the resonant tang of compulsion and Georgie, like the unfortunate victim of the Ancient Mariner could not choose but hear.... "
Poor Georgie, the politest and far from the most self-assertive of men, felt constrained by good manners and the rules of hospitality to allow his guest to give full vent to her opinions. Conversely etiquette should have constrained Lucia from her somewhat pompous and self-indulgent monologue. Benson drew a parallel between Georgie, forced to endure Lucia's oral manifesto and the wedding guest sitting on a stone who was obliged to listen to the voluble ancient mariner in the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
"The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner"
Benson slightly misquoted "Cannot choose but hear" as "Could not choose.." See "The Ancient Mariner."
Counsel of perfection ~ when Lucia left Riseholme to stay at 25 Brompton Square, "the news that she had gone of course now spread rapidly and by lunchtime Riseholme had made up its mind what to do, and that was hermetically to close its lips for ever on the subject of Lucia.You might think what you pleased, for it was a free country, but silence was best. But this counsel of perfection was not easy to practice next day when the evening paper came. There, for all the world to read were two quite long paragraphs in "Five 'O Clock Chit Chat" over the reknowned signature of Hermione, entirely about Lucia and 25 Brompton Square...."
A counsel of perfection has come to mean excellent but unrealisable advice or an unrelizable ideal. The three evangelical counsels of perfection in Chritianity are chastity, poverty or perfect charity and obedience. They are counsels for those who dsire to become "perfect." Members of the consecrated life have made a public profession and religious vow to order their life by the evangelical counsels. Technically then the general aspiration of Riseholme to ignore Lucia did not quite amount to a counsel of perfection.
Coward, Noel ~ when Lucia was planning the syllabus of her series of improving lectures to be delivered at the Literary Institute in Tilling, she asked Mr Noel Coward to speak on the technique of the modern stage.
Unfortunately he was unable to accept for any of the five nights offered to him. Lucia was surprised that he and Mr Desmond McCarthy should not have welcomed the opportunity to get more widely known.
Playwright, composer, director and actor Sir Noel Peirce Coward (1899 - 1973) was perhaps the most successful and glamorous figure in London and Broadway theatre between the wars. Early successes such as "The Vortex" and "Fallen Angels" were followed by "Hay Fever", "Private Lives", "Present Laughter" and "Blithe Spirit." His work in the musical theatre included a series of comic revues, operettas and myriad songs, plus poetry, a novel, several volumes of short stories and autobiography. Coward's literary, stage and film career went on to span six decades of which much preceded the publication of "Lucia's Progress" and a great deal was to follow. Although Coward was unable to oblige Lucia by lecturing in Tilling, his admiration for the Mapp and Lucia canon is recorded. See Desmond McCarthy, John Gielgud and Sir Henry Wood.
Coue ~ when Georgie Pillson had secretly determined, but not announced, his decision to sell his home in Riseholme to Colonel Cresswell and move to Tilling, he pretended to his luncheon companions that he was depressed to be leaving, "It's too tarsome of you all to go on about the lovely things you're going to do. Callisthenic classes and Homer and bridge, and poor me far away. I shall tell myself every morning that I hate Tilling; I shall say like Coue 'Day by day in every way, I dislike it more and more,' until I've convinced myself that I shall be glad to go."
Emile Coue de Chataigneraie (1857 - 1926) was a French psychologist and pharmacist who introduced a method of psychotherapy and self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion typically applying his mantra-like conscious autosuggestion; Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better/ Tous les jours a tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux.
Cricket ~ during her spate of munificence towards Tilling following her accumulation of eight thousand pound in profits from share speculation, Lucia donated funds to enable the cricket pitch to be levelled and was appointed President of Tilling's Cricket Club. She remarked "As President I feel I must take an interest in their games. I wish I had time to study cricket. Doesn't the field look beautifully level now? You could play billiards on it."
Georgie's view was less positive, "Darling, it's so dull watching cricket. One man hits the ball away and another throws it back and all the rest eat daisies."
Crimson-lake ~ after the debacle of publicly appearing in precisely the same design of tea gown favoured by Mrs Titus W. Trout in a fetching kingfisher blue as her neighbour Diva Plaistow, Miss Mapp sent the offending garment back to Miss Greele to be dyed. It returned a brilliant crimson-lake that seemed almost to cast a ruddy glow on the very ceiling. The orange chiffon with which the neck and sleeves were trimmed was dyed black following the exquisite taste of Mrs Trout and threw the splendour of the rest into more dazzling radiance. Unfortunately, Miss Plaistow had exactly the same idea and history repeated itself - again very publicly. The sequence of clashes ended when Diva had the gown dyed yet again -to jet black - leaving Miss Mapp as uncontested Lady of the Crimson-lake.
Crippen ~ when Georgie Pillson had confined himself to "Mallards Cottage" during a painful and embarassing attack of shingles, there was much discussion as to the reason for his withdrawal from the life of Tilling. Typically, Quaint Irene conjectured that Foljambe had murdered him and was burying him below the brick pillar in his back garden. She said to Lucia, "But it might be so beloved. Such things do happen and why not in Tilling? Think of Crippen and Belle Elmore . Let's suppose Foljambe gets through with the burial today and replaces the pillar then she'll go up there tomorrow morning just as usual and tell the police that Georgie has disappeared. Really I don't see what else it can be."
Hawley Harvey Crippen (1862 -1910) was an American homeopathic physician hanged in Pentonville prison for the murder of his wife, Cora Henrietta Crippen, whose stage name was Belle Elmore. Arrested with his alleged accomplice Ethel le Neve fleeing across the Atlantic, he was the first criminal to be arrested with the aid of wireless communication.
Crocket ~ despite working six or eight hours a day since dismissing her gardener Simkinson, Daisy Quantock had not found time to touch a stone of her proposed rockery, "and the fragments lying like a moraine on the path by the potting shed still rendered any approach to the latter a mountaineering feat. They consisted of fragmments of medieval masonry, from the site of the ancient abbey, finials and crockets and pieces of mullioned windows which had been turned up when a new siding of the railway had been made and everyone almost had got some, with the exception of Mrs Boucher, who called them rubbish. Then there were some fossils, ammonites and spar and curious flints with holes in them and bits of talc...."
A form of stylised carving of curled leaves, buds or flowers, a crocket is a hook-shaped decoration whose name is derived from the diminutive of the French, croc, meaning "hook" due to its resemblance to a bishop's cosier. It is common in Gothic arhitecture and used at regular itervals to decorate spires, finials, pinnacles, wimpergs and on the capital of columns.
Cromwellian ~ when Georgie Pillson was "busy indoors" it often meant that his hairdresser, Mr Holroyd was visiting to trim and dye his diminishing auburn tresses. Georgie sat down to dinner while 'it' dried. After that came hot towels and tappings on his face , and other ministrations, and when about half past ten he came downstairs again for a short practice of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, ingeniously arranged for two performers on the piano, he looked with sincere satisfaction at his rosy face in the Cromwellian mrror, and his shoes felt quite comfortable again, and his nails shone like pink stars as his hands dashed wildly about the piano in the quicker passages.
Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658) was an English military, political and religious leader who commanded the Parliamentary victory in the Civil War (1642-1649) and called for the execution of Charles I. He was Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland (1653-1658). Georgie's mirror can be dated sometime between 1599 and 1658.
Crow, Ahab ~ former servant of Colonel Boucher in Riseholme. Married a Miss Jackdaw.
Crystal Palace ~ Lucia had feigned influenza and gone into purdah to avoid meeting Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione on her visit to her brother and sister-in-law, Algernon and Susan Wyse. Georgie, who had been sent away to Folkstone for the same reason, cleverly helped their credibility enormously by sending to Lucia a draft letter of apology in perfect Italian, produced by a girl in the his hotel under the tutelage of her Italian mother, Mrs Brocklebank.
Lucia was able to transcribe the letter convincingly and have it delivered to the Contessa during luncheon. The praise she heaped upon the fluency and perfect elegance of the epistle shot down in flames the story Miss Mapp was eager to tell of Lucia's recent callisthenics in the secret garden of "Mallards," which she had spied upon from the top of the nearby church tower. The edifice of supsicion so carefully reared by Miss Mapp that Lucia knew no Italian collapsed like a house built of cards when the table is shaken. All in all, not one pane of the Crystal Palace was left unshattered.
Designed by Joseph Paxton and originally erected in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and plate-glass building of 990,00 square feet to display the latest technological developments. It was subsequently moved to Penge Common next to Sydenham Hill, where it stood until 1936 when it was destroyed by fire. See Contessa di Faraglione and Mrs Brocklebank.
Cuirass ~ Georgie Pillson had been very taken with the prima donna Olga Bracely when he saw her at Covent Garden in the part of Brunnhilde. She looked like some slim, beardless boy, and not in the least like those great fat fraus at Baireuth, whom nobody could have mistaken for a man as they bulged and heaved even before the strings of the breast plate were cut by his sword. And then she sat up and hailed the sun, and Georgie felt for a mmoment that he had quite taken the wrong turn in life when he settled to spend his life in this boyish, maidenly manner with his embroidery and china-dusting in Riseholme.. He ought to have been Siegfried...He had bought a photograph of her in her cuirass and helmet, and often looked at it when he was not too busy with something else.
A cuirass (Latin: coriaceus; French: cuirasse) is a piece of armour made of a single piece rigid material, such as metal, covering the front of the torso. In armour, it could refer to the complete torso-protecting armour.
Culbertson ~ there was widespread enthusiasm for the game of Bridge in Tilling where Contract waged and won a deadly war with Auction. Amongst Lucia's circle, there were disciples of many schools of thought. One, for example, played Culbertson. Ely Culbertson (1891 - 1955) was a famous and wealthy contract bridge player from the United States. A great showman and publicist, he fostered the early development of contract bridge and promoted himself as the leader in contract bridge in its boom years in the 1930's. His expert team won highly publicised challenge matches in the US and UK. He founded The Bridge World magazine, wrote many books and articles on bridge, owned a firm of plastic playing card manufacturers and a chain of bridge schools teaching the Culbertson bidding system.
Culture ~ Riseholme, led by Lucia, rejected as worthless all artistic efforts later than the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds - and a great deal of what went before.
Cup ~ at Miss Mapp's bridge party at "Mallards" refreshments included sandwiches and chocolate cakes (to suppress the appetite), "hot soup,whisky and syphons and a jug of 'cup' prepared according to an ancestral and economical recipe, which Miss Mapp had taken a great deal of trouble about. A single bottle of white wine, with suitable additions of ginger, nutmeg, herbs and soda water, was the mother of a gallon of drink that seemed aflame with fiery and probably spiritous ingredients. Guests were very careful how they partook of it, so stimulating it seemed." See chocolate cakes.
Cupboard ~ Fear of an impending coal strike and possible shortages of basic foodstuffs prompted Miss Mapp to hoard a very substantial amount of provisions including tinned meats, dried fruit, tea, coffee, jam and flour. This somewhat unpatriotic activity required discretion and Miss Mapp hid her nefarious cache of comestibles in the best, biggest, most secret and discreet cupboard in Mallards . It lay embedded in the wall of the Garden Room concealed behind the shelves of a false book case with faux covers including twelve volumes of the Beauties of Nature, a shelf of Elegant Extracts, and volumes simply called Poems, Commentaries, Travels, Astronomy and Music.
Arriving early for an afternoon bridge party at Mallards, Diva Plaistow was left alone in the Garden Room and took her opportunity to undo the catch of the cupboard to reveal the damning profusion of the provisions inside. The overfilled stores started to tumble, but Diva managed to leave the cupboard door just ajar with temporary quiescence inside.
Only when all the guests had assembled and Mrs Poppit innocently touched the spine of Elegant Extracts did the avalanche of provisions commence inundating the party with a large quantity of good things.
With remarkable resilience and ingenuity a shocked Miss Mapp remarked "Oh my poor little Christmas presents for your needy parishioners, padre".
The guests were left to assimilate the amazing proposition that Miss Mapp had half-way through September loaded her cupboard with Christmas presents for the poor on a scale that beggared belief. The feat required thought: it required faith so childlike it verged upon the imbecile. Captain Puffin later put the general cynicism more bluntly: "Don't suppose the poor of the parish will see much of that corned beef."
Curate ~ the Padre's curate appears to have attended and keenly enjoyed Lucia's po di musicas and to have assisted at Lucia's fete in aid of Tilling hospital held in the garden of "Mallards."
He was turned away at the door of "Mallards" when inquiring after Lucia's health during her bout of feigned "Italophonic-phobic"-induced influenza during the visit to Tilling of Contessa Amelia di Fariglione.
When returning home on the other side of the High Street after a meeting of the Band of Hope (such a contrast) he has witnessed dreadful goings on involving Major Benjy. Benjy had stood in the middle of the road, compelling a motor to pull up with a shriek of brakes and asked to see the driver's licence, insisting that he was a policeman in plain clothes on point duty.
When that was settled in a sympathetic manner by a real policeman, Benjy informed him that Msslucas was a regular stunner and began singing "You are Queen of my heart tonight"
At that point the curate, pained but violently interested, reluctantly let himself into his house. Naturally, the curate felt bound to tell his spiritual superior about the scene in the High Street.
He is is unnamed, although he might possibly be Mr Sturgis greeted by Miss Mapp during her visit to the fete. See Mr Sturgis. See "You are the Queen of my heart tonight."
Curtius, Quintus ~ see Quintus Curtius and Infelicities.
Curveting ~ from the window of her Garden Room, Miss Mapp could see the comings and goings of many of her neighbours and friends about Tilling. She noted "Isabel Poppit had advanced as far as the fish shop three doors below the turning down which Mrs Plaistow had vanished. Her prancing progress paused there for a moment and she waited with one knee highly elevated, like a statue of a curveting horse...."
Derived from the Italian corvetta, the diminutive of corva, an early form of curva, from the Latin curva, bent or curved, the simple past participle, curveting is to leap about or frolic when applied to a horse or Isabel Poppit. In dressage terms, it might possibly resemble an excessively energetic or expressive piaffe, or even passage.
Cut-throat bridge ~ the card game at which Hermy and Ursy rooked their brother Georgie Pillson of eleven shillings on the evening on which the announced to him that they had recognised the guru as a tipsy curry cook from the Calcutta Restaurant in Bedford Street
Cyanosis ~ several of the mature ladies of Tilling tried very hard to match the immaculate maquillage of visiting diva, Olga Bracely but instead managed to look fairly grotesque. Evie had one finger nail that looked frost-bitten. Diva sported a Cupid's bow in vermillion for a mouth and two twin arched eyebrows in charcoal and must have looked perpetually surprised. Susan's grey waved hair resembled corrugated tin roofing. Elizabeth's cheeks were like the petals of wild roses, but she had not the nerve to incarnadine her mouth, which, by contrast, appeared to be afflicted by the cyanosis which precedes death.
The onset of cyanosis is clasically described as occurring if 5.0g/dL (or possibly less) of deoxyhemoglobin is present. Meaning literally "the blue disease or condition," derived from the colour cyan (kyanos,Greek for blue) ,Cyanosis is manifested by blue or purple colouration of the skin or mucous membranes due to the tisuesnear the surface of the skin are low on oxygen